Happy birthday Agnes, this one's for you

One hundred and twenty years ago today Agnes Macphail was born. If you live in Canada it's possible you've seen one of the Canada Post television ads that features Macphail's passion for penal reform. She was the first woman elected as a Member of Parliament to the Canadian House of Commons in 1921, just two years after women were given the right to vote. An activist and an advocate for rural issues, pensions for seniors, workers' rights, and women in the criminal justice system, Macphail helped bring a once quiet voice to federal parliament.

Although the riding boundaries have changed over the years, Agnes Macphail was first elected in what is now my local riding, Bruce-Grey Owen Sound. She switched to provincial politics in 1943. As best I can tell this riding has not had a female Member of Parliament since Agnes Macphail last held the seat in 1940--seventy years ago.

Last week I submitted the paper work required by The Green Party of Canada to run as a candiate in the next federal election. I like how the Green Party defines success. If you haven't read their platform document, Vision Green, you may be surprised to know that there's more to the party than climate change and "green taxes." A lot more. For the open source software geeks: read their commitment to open source software. Interested in farming and food: that's covered in the Agriculture and food section. Are you a home-based entrepreneur? You're covered too. Or maybe you're an artist or a patron of the arts: yup. There's an arts and culture section for you.

To me Vision Green just makes sense. There are a few things that are a bit controversial (I'll let you find those for yourself), but I like the overall feeling I get from the document and from the party. It meshes with the way I live. It puts a great big WOAH on overconsumption and instead looks to support local, sustainable business. The Green Party encourages Canadians to work hard, but with the goal of leading a sustainable, healthy life.

Elizabeth May and Emma Hogbin

When Elizabeth May spoke in Owen Sound a few years ago she said she wanted to see more women in politics. She didn't say it directly to me, she said it to a room of a few hundred people. But I heard it as if she said it directly to me. I've been around politics for a long time. I was a provincial Legislative Page in 1991 and a Legislative Usher while at university. I took many credits in political science while studying environmental science at the University of Toronto. I helped build the Web site for Shane Jolley's provincial campaign, and Dick Hibma's federal campaign. I get excited about politics and even took Eric Ries to the beehive building to see the New Zealand government in action back in February. I like living in a democracy where my vote is counted and my member of parliament will call me back if I have a question.

If you've seen me talk about HICK Tech or the 100 Mile Client Roster at an open source conference you know that I'm all about defining, and achieving success. I have not been approved to run in the nomination meeting to be the local GPC candidate, but should I be chosen my personal campaign goal will be to increase voter participation in Bruce-Grey Owen Sound by 10% in the next federal election. It's a SMART goal: it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to my love of democracy and it's timebound. Do I expect to be elected? No. Will I campaign to win? Yes.

A few seats left for Kiwi night

The menu is set and it's going to be a delicious evening on Wednesday at the Ginger Press (Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada). There will be lamb (of course) and pavlova (of course...although truth be told it'll be Australian pav with kiwi, not Kiwi pavlova). Over the course of the evening I'll be taking a look at my experiences of being a working tourist in New Zeland. While in New Zealand I visited over half a dozen cities, spoke at three conferences and indulged in more than a few meals of lamb. The scenery was lovely, the people were fantastic and the similarities (and differences) to Canada (and Grey-Bruce in particular) were really interesting.

On Wednesday I will take you through an overview of my time in New Zealand highlighting:

  • buying local, buying handmade and product marketing
  • food, wine and eating out
  • politics: the Greens, the Māori and how they fit with the other parties
  • tourism offices, tourist attractions and the ubiquitous kiwi tea towel

Of course there will also be a few vacation shots of mountains, keas and kakas...the only shots of kiwis are of the human variety.

Ontario Green Party Leader to Speak in Owen Sound March 22

Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, will be the keynote speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Bruce-Grey Green Party of Ontario. Mr. Schreiner, will speak on “The Green Economy: Benefits to Rural and Small Town Ontario”. As a leading advocate for independent businesses and sustainable communities, Mr. Schreiner is well qualified to speak on this issue.

Who: Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario
What: Featured speaker at Annual General Meeting of Bruce-Grey Green Party of Ontario
Where: Owen Sound Market Building
When: 7 PM, Monday, March 22, 2010

Mr. Schreiner was elected as Green Party leader last year. He is well known for his leadership in co-founding the award-winning Local Food Plus which worked to bring farmers and consumers together to promote financially, socially and environmentally sustainable local food systems.

The event is free. Refreshments and door prizes will be provided.

Hopefully I'll see you there!

Git for Teams

Git For Teams

Best selling title from O'Reilly media. Covers essential skills needed to use Git in a team environment.

Available from O'Reilly media, and better bookstores worldwide.

Collaborating with Git

Collaborating with Git

Practical how-to videos to get you, and your team, up and running with Git. A complementary video series for the book, Git for Teams.

Available from O'Reilly media.

Drupal User's Guide

Drupal User's Guide

Site building for Drupal 7. Includes in-depth information on Drupal's most popular site building modules, SEO and accessibility. Two complete case studies are included in the book along with the tools you'll need to build (almost) any Web site with Drupal.

Available from

Front End Drupal

Front End Drupal

The industry go-to for learning theming in Drupal 6. A great companion to Lullabot's book, Using Drupal.

Available from